After a break in the case of "Baby Hope," authorities arrested Conrado Juarez, 52, in New York City's Greenwich Village this weekend in connection with the 1991 death of the then-unidentified 4-year-old girl.
"Baby Hope," whom authorities now identify as Anjelica Castillo, was found dead in a cooler near an exit in the Henry Hudson Parkway by construction workers in 1991.
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The discovery of the body of the naked child struck a chord in New York, amid a crime wave of 1,886 homicides that year, according to USA Today.
Detectives involved with the case gave the child a proper burial in 1993.
Juarez, 52, a relative of Castillo who lives on Richmond Plaza in the Bronx, was arrested Friday at the Greenwich Village restaurant where he worked, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
Kelly told the New York Times
that on Saturday Juarez had confessed to sexually abusing and murdering Castillo. He said with the help of one of his sisters who is now deceased, he disposed of the body in the picnic cooler where she was found.
Detectives named the girl "Baby Hope" as a symbol of their refusal to give up until they found her killer and positively identified her.
"Over the years the optimism was always there, except the frustration would grow," deputy chief Joseph J. Reznick said. Reznick was the detective commander of the 34th Precinct in Washington Heights, where the construction workers found Castillo. "But, you know what, reflecting back on what we named this little girl, 'Baby Hope," I think that’s the most accurate name we could have come up with. And it worked."
USA Today reported that law enforcement got the cold case-breaking tip this summer that took them to a woman whom they were able to identify through DNA to be Castillo's sister. They were then able to trace the family back to 1991 and where they were when Castillo went missing.
The investigation led authorities to Juarez, who was a brother of Balvina Juarez-Ramirez on Castillo's father's side of the family. Police said they still do not know the whereabouts of Castillo's parents but Juarez-Ramirez has died.
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